‘Reduce formalities time for Dhaka-Kolkata train journey’

April 16th, 2008 - 1:45 pm ICT by admin  

Dhaka, April 16 (IANS) The media in Bangladesh was unanimous in emphasising Wednesday that the time taken for customs and immigration formalities for passengers of the just-begun Maitree Express train service should be drastically reduced. Waiting for over five hours for harried passengers was “excruciating” and was “nothing short of harassment”, New Age newspaper said.

Observing that India-Bangladesh relations “have hardly been good”, the newspaper editorially blamed the 43-year hiatus in the train service on the “ruling classes and bureaucracies” in both countries who have their own notions and agenda and exhorted the people to “put pressures” to ensure better interaction.

The Daily Star newspaper also lamented the delay and the time taken in formalities, but placed the train service in “a happily changed context”.

The service had been snapped in 1965 after a war between India and Pakistan. Bangladesh was then East Pakistan. The resumption had come about in “a sovereign independent Bangladesh”.

The newspaper also saw the new train as part of the bigger picture of the need to promote transit and transport, using multi-modal services and new available technology to connect countries of the South Asian region.

“Multi-modal transport linkages between Saarc (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) countries, which the regional body’s charter advocates, will provide a powerful impetus to people-to-people contact and understanding in the South Asia region.

“To facilitate greater connectivity with India and rest of the region, refurbishment of infrastructures should move hand in hand with simplification of procedures for quick delivery of visas and easing of travelling restrictions,” the editorial said.

It noted the enthusiasm shown in resuming the train service and the presence of high dignitaries at both ends, but also underscored the need for high security and vigilance.

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